Canada lawmakers extend emergency powers for truck protests

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Canadian lawmakers have voted to extend the emergency powers that police can invoke to quell any potential restart of blockades by those opposed to COVID-19 restrictions.

Lawmakers in the House of Commons voted 185 to 151 to affirm the powers Monday night.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said earlier that the powers were still needed despite police ending the occupation of the nation’s capital by truckers over the weekend and police ending border blockades before that. Trudeau says there are still concerns about trucks returning to Ottawa streets and border crossings.

Even though the blockades are lifted across border openings right now, even though things seem to be resolving very well in Ottawa, this state of emergency is not over," Trudeau said. "There continues to be real concerns about the coming days, but we will continue to evaluate every single day whether or not it is time and we are able to lift this state of emergency."

The emergencies act allows authorities to declare certain areas as no-go zones. It also allows police to freeze truckers’ personal and corporate bank accounts and compel tow truck companies to haul away vehicles.

The government used measures under the law for the first time in the face of protests in the national capital and border blockades.

Conservatives had called on the Liberals to revoke the powers, but Trudeau found support from members of the New Democratic Party.